Lukas Has More Than Sporting Chance in Southwest

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas sends out a pair in Monday’s $500,000 Southwest (G3) at Oaklawn Park. (photo credit: Oaklawn Park)

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, fresh off pulling off an upset in Saturday’s Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds has a pair of runners with a sporting chance in Monday’s $500,000 Southwest (G3) at Oaklawn Park.

Sporting Chance (9-2) is making his first start since winning the Hopeful (G1) at Saratoga on Sept. 4 for The Coach. The trainer also will saddle longshot Kentucky Club (30-1), who broke his maiden for a $30,000 tag in his last outing.

Lukas pulled off a stunner in the Risen Star with 21-1 longshot Bravazo, the colt winning the first Road to the Kentucky Derby points race with 50 points awarded to the winner, assuring a starting spot in the gate for the Run for the Roses.

For the latest Kentucky Derby future odds go to US Racing.

Another Hall of Fame trainer has the morning line favorite for the Southwest. Bob Baffert will send out Mourinho (3-1) who won the Smarty Jones in gate to wire fashion over the Oaklawn Park main track in his last start.

Baffert has won the Southwest in four of the last nine years and has won with six of his last 18 three-year-old starters at the Hot Springs racetrack.

The supporting feature on the Oaklawn Park card is the $500,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) which drew a field of 11 older runners that will travel 1 1/16 miles on the main track.

The Keith Desormeaux trained Sonneteer is the 4-1 morning line favorite and won the Fifth Season over the main track in his last start. The colt ran well here last year with a runner up finish in the Rebel (G2) at 112-1 and a fourth in the Arkansas Derby (G1) at 12-1.

My Best Plays Report for Monday includes my nine strongest plays from Aqueduct and Oaklawn Park.

Let’s head out to Oaklawn Park for Monday’s featured race of the day:

Oaklawn Park Race 9 The Southwest G3 (Post time 5:10 CT)

#2 Sporting Chance   9-2

#4 Mourinho   3-1

#1 My Boy Jack   12-1

#10 Combatant   6-1

Analysis: Sporting Chance is making his first start since winning the seven-furlong Hopeful (G1) at the Spa last September. He beat a few nice runners including runner up Free Drop Billy who came back to win the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and most currently ran second in the Holy Bull (G2) and fourth place finisher Firenze Fire, who won the Champagne (G1) and Jerome and most recently ran second in the Withers (G3).

Our top pick was a $575,000 Keeneland purchase and should only get better with more ground. He is by Tiznow out of the stakes winner Wynning Ride ($345,108). Lukas upset the Risen Star on Saturday with Bravazo at 21-1 to give him a Derby contender. The colt has been working sharply over the main track here.

Mourinho took the field gate to wire to win the Smarty Jones last out going a mile over the main track here. Baffert has won this race in four of the last nine years including with Secret Circle and Castaway in 2012 when the race was split into two divisions. Two back the Baffert trainee was second in the Bob Hope (G3) going seven furlongs behind repeat winner Greyvitas who won the Springboard Mile in his next start at Remington Park on Dec. 17.

The Baffert runner was a $625,000 Ocala purchase, by Derby winner Super Saver out of a stakes placed More Than Ready mare that has dropped two other foals to race including stakes winner Sandy’s Surprise ($308,260). He should be forwardly placed along with our top pick and the pace should be fast.

My Boy Jack tracked the early pace and finished evenly in a third-place finish in the Sham (G3) last out in his first start on dirt since his debut. The winner was the highly regarded McKinzie. On turf the Desormeaux runner showed an ability to come from off the pace and that running style may come in handy here with the abundance of early speed that is signed up. Decent value if he goes off near his 12-1 morning line.


WIN: #2 to win at 4-1 or better.

EX: 2,4 / 1,2,4,10

TRI: 2,4 / 1,2,4,10 / 1,2,4,10,11


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